This Charming Couple
- Publication date
- McGraw-Hill Book Co.
- Digitizing sponsor
Most educational films hover safely within the realm of conventional wisdom. They feature characters who are not too attractive, not too smart, and not too unusual-the better for ordinary students to identify with. Not This Charming Couple. Like the other Marriage for Moderns films, and quite unlike most social guidance movies, the film is about the lives-and problems-of educated people and intellectuals. Ken and Winnie float through the Missouri summer countryside in a haze of poetic infatuation. Ken worries that "the words don't come" when he tries to get Winnie's essence down on paper; Winnie criticizes Ken for not understanding "how exciting the life of a writer can be." Ken takes Winnie to dinner with his friends from New York and they quarrel when Winnie does not quite make the grade with the effete intellectuals. The film is considerably more literate than others of its type, incorporating prose, poetry, and ballads into its soundtrack. The dialogue is witty and odd enough to be quoted: "Blue eyes mean love me or I die. Brown eyes mean love me or I kill you." As Willard van Dyke's essay "The Director on Location," included on this disc, reveals, the attitude and production environment were unusual, even utopian. The filmmakers, themselves experienced documentarians, chose to work with nonprofessional actors. They interviewed hundreds of people in and around Columbia, Missouri, and cast actors whose personality and psychological traits were close to the roles in the script. Since the actors were to play speaking parts, van Dyke brought cast and crew together into a guest house and showed them documentary films, attempting to encourage the actors to experience their roles emotionally. "As much of a documentary film director's work is done while he is relaxing," van Dyke writes, "as when he is under the pressure of the actual filming; it is during his free time that he gets to know the people with whom he is working. When he knows them well he can help them to find the things within themselves which can be used to create the feeling of truth so essential to the film." The film begins in divorce court, so there is no suspense about the outcome. Eyes on the course rather than on the finish, we see vignettes showing the weaknesses of Ken and Winnie's partnership. In a manner unusual for an educational film, the vignettes do not appear to have been created to prove specific points. Rather, each makes an impression that, taken with the other segments of the film, creates a feeling of unease. The attempt, it seems, is to make a narrative as full of ambiguity as a real-life discussion of good friends. Although the failure of the marriage is predetermined and essentially forced on the viewer, the film imparts its ideas in a noncoercive way; they seem to arise out of the events. There are power struggles in This Charming Couple, but the warfare is unconventional by most standards. Neither Ken nor Winnie wants to change his or her behavior, and both are wedded to their Bohemian ideals. When the question of marital compromises is broached, both seem to feel threatened on the gender level. Shades of social class and mobility also seem to color the relationship; Winnie imagines the enviable life of a writer's spouse, while Ken, a Louisiana boy, seeks to emulate his intellectual friends from New York. Winnie, queen of her own small world, seeks to control Ken within marriage, because she cannot control his success in the bigger world. The core dilemma of their marriage anticipates the late-century urban plight in which so many couples find themselves today: "They would rather change each other to satisfy their own ambitions."
A series of films based on Marriage for Moderns by Henry A. Brown. Director: Willard Van Dyke. Writer: H. Partnow (pseudonym for blacklisted screenwriter Millard Lampell). Cameraman: Peter Glushanok. Editor: Aram Boyajian. Production Manager: Howard Turner. Producer: Irving Jacoby. With: Ken: Ken McCannon. Winnie: Nancy Todd.
- 2013-09-07 21:11:35
Subject: He Makes Me Laugh
Let's start with Ken, who's a teacher, and may have the best "what the hell were they thinking of?" hobbies that has graced a film like this. He and a friend record Appalachian music! Anyways, career and hobbies aside, this is one STRANGE looking dude, from the moment we see him, and the ugly acne scars down his chin, and the ugly boil on the OTHER side of his neck, you're wondering, who the heck was in charge of casting of this film? Not only does this guy LOOK like a psycho, he freely admits it too, with that "if you didn't love me, I'd kill you" line that always makes my mouth drop.
Winnie isn't much better, although she's sweet on the surface, I can just tell she's a bitch on wheels just waiting to happen, always wanting to have things her way and stalking her boyfriend everywhere he goes (yes, while recording Appalachian music) Why, she does'nt care about nature! She picks wildflowers from the forest! All the more for hubby to make scowling faces at her.
Whoooo boy, a classic of the highest order.. This is a MUST SEE on this site!
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